It seems like just about every day, the KC Royals are making roster moves in their minor league system. Thursday was no exception.
Catcher Erik Kratz began his rehab assignment tonight with Triple-A Omaha. How long he will be with the Storm Chasers is anyone’s guess. With the acquisition of backup Drew Butera and him being out of options, there is a good chance that Kratz could be stuck in Omaha (or the Royals get rid of Butera).
Kratz is currently 0-for-2 with a strikeout at the plate and has a passed ball behind the plate.
The other big name joining Omaha is lefty Brandon Finnegan. Is he ready for Triple-A? I don’t think so, but the Royals seem eager to continue to push him along. Finnegan hasn’t been all that impressive this season, though he is coming off a save in two shutout innings on May 19th.
His chance at starting lasted a whole two games (and then once when he returned from his shaky callup to the big leagues). He had only gotten to four innings in a start before the Royals promoted him to the Majors at the end of April.
My biggest concern is his lack of control. In the minors in 2015, he has walked 12, compared to 13 strikeouts in 13 innings. Finnegan has also been throwing a ton of pitches in his outings (240 pitches in the minors, 137 for strikes). That’s a little more than 18 pitches an inning.
Double-A NW Arkansas added infielder Kenny Diekroeger from Wilmington, which is where he started the 2015 season and was recently returned after a stint in Triple-A. Diekroeger is making his Double-A debut tonight at second base and is currently 1-for-1 while batting ninth.
To replace Diekroeger, the Blue Rocks added Carlos Garcia from Low-A Lexington. The normal leadoff hitter for the Legends was hitting .254 at the time of his promotion, but just .171 in his last ten games. His strikeout to walk ratio isn’t bad (22 to 17 in 126 at-bats) and he has stolen 21 bases (caught five times).
The Legends then got Logan Davis from the Naturals. Davis has played a total of two games this season.
Right-hander Luke Farrell, who was recently promoted to NWA and came out of the bullpen on May 19th, will make his first start of the season for the Naturals tomorrow night. Farrell recorded just one out and needed 23 pitches to get that out in his relief outing. He also allowed two runs on three hits and a walk.
UPDATE: Lefty Joe Paterson was released from Triple-A Omaha. He has not pitched well, with a 5.68 ERA over just 12.2 innings. He allowed 14 hits, walked six, and hit three. His release opened up the spot for Finnegan.
Other minor league news & notes from Paul Boyd, who covers the NW Arkansas Naturals for Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
*Manager Vance Wilson is hoping to get centerfielder Bubba Starling back in a few weeks, but he is dealing with a hamstring issue. That could end up hampering him for the rest of the season.
*Right-handed starter Glenn Sparkman could be out until July. That’s a tough break for a guy who is trying to prove that his 2014 season in Wilmington is not a fluke. Sparkman has been out since throwing six innings on April 27th.
*It is too early to say who won the deal between the Miami Marlins and the Royals that netted the Royals lefty Brian Flynn and Reid Redman for Aaron Crow. Crow needed Tommy John surgery and Flynn has gotten just one out this season before succumbing to injury (and he could miss the rest of the season). Redman just had Tommy John surgery too.